Northern Ireland 1-2 England
Nathaniel Ferris (77) Jos Thomas (70), Zak Lilley (Pen 82)
The second of the INSPIRESPORT CENTENARY SHIELD fixtures took place on Friday evening in Comber FC with the English snatching a late winner from the penalty spot as Northern Ireland suffered their first defeat of the campaign.
Conor Marlin & Frank Wilson’s side enjoyed a point apiece last week in Glasgow in the opening game of the 2016 series. Substitute Salou Jallow opened the scoring for the visitors on the hour mark but this was cancelled out five minutes later with a delightful header from Hamilton Grammar student John Cunningham. Jallow thought he bagged the match winner in the dying minutes of the game but his goal was ruled off side.
Matthew Shelvin, David Parkhouse and Karl Hamill were absent from the England encounter yesterday which meant a late call up for Timmy Browne (Regent House).
The England side took the lead courtesy of a well-placed header from Jos Thomas 25 minutes into the second period after an excellent save by Jack Ferguson.
The Northern Ireland managers made a few tactically changes once they conceded which saw the introduction of Nathaniel Ferris. The young Portadown College student had an immediate impact on proceedings as he found the equaliser on 77 minutes.
Both sides carved out some real chances but goalkeepers Ferguson and Wycherley were razor sharp between the posts.
The winner came 8 minutes from time as England’s Zak Liffey converted from the spot to ensure a full three points for England.
Northern Ireland will pick themselves up from their recent disappointment as they meet the Republic of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day in Arklow Town FC for their penultimate game in the crusade. They will finish their Shield outing with a home game against the Welsh on April 15.
NORTHERN IRELAND: Ferguson, Kerr, Wilson (C), McCracken, Marron, Nimick, Young, Anderson, McCaw, Henry, Jallow,
UBS: Kane,Toland, Neale, Cafolla, Connery, Ferris, Browne
MANAGEMENT: Conor Marlin, Frank Wilson (Joint Managers), Brian Donaghey (GK Coach)
ENGLAND: Wycherley, O’Malley, Orisatoki, Cook, Wisson, Mouanda (C), Shonibare, Breen, Smith, Bradshaw, Lilly
SUBS: Thomas, O’Halloran, Lawrence, Lamb, Hartshorne, Woodward, Grange
MANAGEMENT: Andy Blight (Manager), Ben Lavelle (Assistant Manager)
REFEREE: Shane Andrews